Finding a tear

My mum outlived my dad by 25 years. She never remarried or dated anyone else. She lived with my brother the bachelor in Medicine Hat, Alberta and she never ever, ever went to a doctor. Never, ever, ever did I see my mother cry. Not at the births of her grand kids, not at my dad’s funeral, not at any misfortune. She never showed a sad emotion. 
At age 90 she had an aneurysm that went to her foot. She thought she had twisted her ankle and of course didn’t go to the doctor. Gangrene set in and headed for her upper regions.  She was rushed to hospital where I was given a call at Utah State University. I was taking my MFA at the time. I drove up to see her. The doctor visited us and said to my mum “Mrs. Clennell you are going to have your leg amputated, you are going to have to go on dialysis and you are going to have to live in assisted living. She looked at me with a slight smile and then the doctor and said flatly “No, no and no!” She died a few days later. Like her I didn’t cry. I went to the studio at USU early and worked late. 

I have always wanted to plant a tree for her. I thought an Ironwood tree and then I saw this tree at Gerry the welder’s junk yard.  Gerry is a tough sort but beneath that rough exterior beats a heart and a creative soul. The perfect tree for mum.
After much negotiation and head ache with Gerry the tree came home on Earth Day to The Cactus Lounge in Uncle Donny’s 1999 Chevy pick up.  I didn't want to scratch the paint on the truck as he still has 57 more payments to make on it. 

I have cried for many lesser things in my life but there were no tears on the day of my mum’s death.

Today, I found that tear thanks to Gerry the welders tree. Fran the Iron Woman will soon be watching over The Cactus Lounge. Tomorrow morning I will open the kitchen window so she can smell the coffee. Thanks mum for giving me the mental toughness to survive being an artist.


Unknown said…
I'm glad she had Gerry do it so you could pput it up at the lounge. A guy like you must never be allowed to forget them that brought 'em. Thank you for the memories.
Brilliant, Tony. I love a tough woman. As Barb M says, apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Ya gotta love a tough old bird, and I love ya! I agree, art is not for the weak at heart.

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